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Elemental Technologies Closes Series B Funding Round

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Portland, Oregon-based Elemental Technologies announced today that it has closed a Series B financing round of $7.5 million, with Steamboat Ventures joining General Catalyst and Voyager Capital, existing venture backers of the company.

As part of the deal, Scott Hilleboe, Managing Director at Steamboat Ventures, will join Elemental's board of directors, just a short time after Elemental announced a customer win with ABC News. Like ABC News, Steamboat Ventures is affiliated with The Walt Disney Company and has funded other companies in the streaming industry, such as EdgeCast Networks.

What's interesting about this round of funding is that Elemental is known to be both a forward-looking company (Hilleboe calls Elemental's technology a "disruptive video processing solution") and also a frugal one: Of the $7.1 million Series A funds the company received two years ago, it has only burned through half.

When asked about the need for additional funds, Elemental CEO Sam Blackman said the company has reached a point in its sales growth that it needs to add additional resources to cover demand.

"As more and more units are deployed in the field," said Blackman, "we find ourselves at a tipping point. As we pass major technological and market milestones with our customers, the prudent thing to do is to position Elemental financially to support massive growth."

"While we had already been planning to use existing funds to add additional customer service and support resources," said Blackman, "the availability of additional funds allows Elemental to expand business development and marketing efforts as well." 

Blackman also said the Steamboat Ventures partnership was a natural one to help with the company's national and international expansion, and that the partnership led to Elemental's relationship with ABC News.

"We view Scott and Steamboat as the perfect additions to our investment team," said Blackman.

"Steamboat clearly recognizes the opportunities and challenges created by consumers' insatiable appetite for video," Hilleboe stated in a press release about the Series B funding. "Elemental's disruptive video processing solutions are poised to change expectations regarding content delivery to any device or screen with exceptional video quality."

Blackman also said the company has a number of customer wins that it expects to be able to discuss around the IBC timeframe in early September. In the meantime, he points to ABC News, CBS Interactive and News-Press & Gazette (NPG).

The latter, the subject of a recently released case study, uses both Elemental Server for transcoding and Elemental Live for live encoding. NPG has 22 daily and weekly newspapers, four radio and seven full-power television stations, and 14 cable systems located in Oregon, Missouri, Arizona, and California.

The Bend, Oregon NBC affiliate, KTVZ, has integrated Elemental Server into its Avid-Sundance workflow automation system to convert the H.264 HD content it receives from a Pitch Blue transport stream recorder.

Once the show has fully downloaded from satellite to the PitchBlue recorder, it is sent to Sundance for consolidation of the show content and dozens of 30-second spots, to create a single hour block of programming. This programming is then transcoded by Elemental Server.

"Typical input files are about 42 minutes long for an hour program, due to commercial inserts," said Blackman, "and existing solutions take about that long to transcode the files for playout."

Elemental provides KTVZ the ability to transcode all of its 28 hours of syndicated content in groups of 4 simultaneous transcodes, cutting the workday workflow down to 7 hours on a single Elemental Server.

"Elemental Server can convert up to four H.264 HD files simultaneously," said Blackman, "in comparison to other transcoding tools doing serial processing of a single file at a time."

This ability to do simultaneous transcodes becomes even more important when a station wants to do both an SD and an HD version simultaneously or start outputting to other platforms beyond traditional broadcast delivery, such as online or mobile delivery.

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